This is Howard C. Park's blog. Interests: live music, simulations and modeling, languages, iPod, social and business networking, systems thinking, history of science, management, BBQ, trivia, good coffee, organizational learning, traveling, personal histories.
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Do you speak English?
The world speaks English, at least in the big cities. This, in my opinion, becomes a double-edged sword for Americans. Traveling is convenient. However, this also encourages English-only speakers to NOT learn the local language (why is this bad?....).
A more subtle danger for Americans is that we may actually believe that the rest of the world speaks "American English". Consider the following true-life event that occured the other night in Prague. Some colleagues and I went our for dinner. We ordered a cab for the trip home. The four of us get in, and tell the driver our destination: Intercontinental Hotel. The driver remains silent; the cab doesn't move. One of the guys says, "look, you have to say it like this: 'ho-tel-in-ter-con-ti-nen-tal". The difference? Without even knowing it, what we 1st said came out like "in-ner-con-nin-nen-nal". Talk about sloppy. We had all spent too much time in Texas. On a somewhat related note, why is Bon Jovi so much more loved outside the US than in the US? I guess 100,000,000 fans can't be wrong.